Just wanted to share something about tax free shopping in Japan from my own experience. Tax free shopping in Japan is quite hassle free and some shops have dedicated cashiers for it. Others you’ll need to claim the tax refund but from the mall itself. Overall, I didn’t have to go to any customs office at the airport to get my tax refunds.
The retailers and malls who do the refunds will do the necessary procedures and stick like loads of receipts on your passport and can make it look quite thick depending on how much you shop.
Few things to note when you buy tax free items in Japan:
1) minimum spending of ¥5000 for consumables and general goods each. Some malls offer the ability to combine receipts from different shops.
2) Goods will be sealed and can’t be used until you depart the country. There certain things which you use immediately such as electronic items.
The interesting part is that no one talks about if you have to show the goods you purchase to any customs officer when you check in for your flight back. Well, basically you can just check in the items you bought. You don’t have to bring it as carry on. After you enter the departure gate, there is a counter for customs to look at the refunds. Basically the officer didn’t bother and just asked me to deposit all the receipts in a box at the counter and off I went. That’s how simple it is.